Old Road(1573) to Muddy Creek(1594.6) 21.6 Miles
Total Miles: 780.1
Elevation: 7,132 feet
I awoke bright and early to the sound of rain battering on my tent. Shortly after Turtle called out saying we should wait to pack up. He had a weather report saying it should clear up by 9. I couldn’t go back to sleep for awhile. I listened to it rain steadily for about an hour. The rain varied from a downpour to hardly a drizzle. Every time I thought about calling out to Turtle so we could pack up, the rain increased. Around 8am I finally drifted off to sleep. I woke back up just before 9. It was only sprinkling, so I suggested that we get going. As soon as we emerged from our tents the rain increased. We really thought it would stop around 9 or 10, so we went ahead and packed up. We didn’t start hiking until almost 10. For the next 2.5 hours we hiked through a steady downpour. To make matters more interesting we were completely out in the open and it was windy. Hiking in the rain is utterly demoralizing. It almost seems like the end of the world. I had to draw strength from my experiences on the Appalachian Trail. I knew that it wouldn’t last forever and eventually things would get better. We finally got a break around 6 miles into the day. The rain stopped and we found a sheltered spot to take a break.
Our refuge didn’t last long. Within a few miles it started raining again. It really seemed like it might rain all day long. I had my phone safely put away to protect it from the elements. As the ferocity of the clouds increased, moral plummeted. To make matters more interesting, this section of trail is completely on dirt roads. After our 37 mile paved road walk into Grants New Mexico, I thought I had made peace with walking on dirt roads. They are much kinder to my feet than paved roads. After today we are once again at odds. Dirt roads + rain= a slide and slide. I slipped and fell walking down one. Turtle started to laugh at me just as he hit a slick spot and also fell down. HaHa... Vindication!
After about 12 miles of walking through the rain, up and down muddy slippery roads the rain finally stopped. The sun even came out for awhile. That is when a new problem arose. The mud started really clinging to our shoes. It would build up to a crazy level before breaking free. Each and every step we would collect more mud. I swear it felt like we had on weighted shoes. At times it was like walking with 5 pound lead weights on each foot.
Insane amount of mud
The rest of the day proceeded with stormy looking clouds surrounding us. Sometimes we would get sprinkled on for awhile and once or twice it surpassed a drizzle. The real bummer was today should have been glorious. I really enjoyed the scenery and the wildflowers are really going off right now. Much of my attention was diverted to my footing or keeping my head down to keep the rain out of my face. Even with the late start and rainy conditions it felt great to finally make some miles again. I can’t remember the last time I hiked more than 20 miles in one day.
The weather should be better tomorrow and I’m really looking forward to dryer roads.
Dodged these clouds
Took refuge under a bridge for 15 minutes trying to stay dry late in the day
Home sweet home
We ended the day dry. It looked like we were going to get soaked again within the last 3 miles, but we only got sprinkled on. We found a great spot to camp at. There was a broken down structure of some kind that made a great platform to cook and eat on. I was thrilled not to have to sit in the mud to cook or eat. Just as I finished cooking it started to rain, but it only lasted 30 seconds. I’m glad I had my AT experience to fall back on today. I think I would have been even more dejected had I not lived through many much worse situations on that trail. Here is hoping for a dry day tomorrow. We haven’t had much of a break with weather or trail conditions since leaving Chama. I could really use a dry and easy day.
“Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles, it empties today of its strength.”
–Corrie Ten Boom